Our lives have paused, but the world hasn’t stopped spinning. Just because you can’t meet up at the fabulous new restaurant or pop round your mates for dinner parties galore, doesn’t mean you can’t hang out. Don’t give up on birthdays and graduations, Friday drinks and family dinners.
We might seem far apart, but it’s 2020, we’ve never been closer.
Wi-Fi is the new table. Your phone or tablet is your place setting. No need to cancel your next dinner party. This time it’s virtual.
As with all dinner parties, even the virtual ones, there are challenges. Here we’ll show you how to navigate your way through a dinner party unlike any you’ve hosted before.
Put it in the Diary
First things first: Who’s coming? Hopefully, this is the easy bit. Work out a guest list and decide what kind of evening you are after. Classic and fancy or cozy and relaxed. The tone will determine the rest of your plans. Decide on a dish you can eat together, or turn it into a competition and see who can rustle up the best grub. Remember, not everyone will have cupboards full of food. So, plan accordingly.
Pick Your App
|Each ‘hangout’ can host up to 10 people at once and can be accessed from your phone or computer.||Are you using an iPhone or iPad? Time to boot up FaceTime. Let’s you add up to 32 devices.||Zoom has a range of plans available. The basic plan is free, but there is a 40-minute meeting limit. Suitable for a quick chat.||Houseparty is free to download and easy to use. Available on android and apple systems.||Skype is a classic. Up to 50 people can join, and conversation can last up to 4 hours.|
Where to Sit
Sitting alone doesn’t mean you need to slum it on the coach. Pick your favorite location in your house. Lay it out just as you like it. Make some effort. Even if space is limited, a table can be constructed, chairs borrowed.
If you’re a dinner party aficionado: pull out your finest cutlery, unwrap the crystal-cut glasses you’ve saved for a special occasion, and pop out those eye-catching plates you love to show off. Lay a table cloth (or blanket). Fold your napkins. Candles ready. Then open a bottle and relax. It’s time to treat yourself.
Cook Something Delicious
If you’re deciding to all cook the same meal, try something simple. A rich marinara sauce and fresh pasta or a big cheesy pile of nachos are fantastic recipes to try. Might I suggest starting the video call early and have a cook-along. Hear your friend’s trials and tribulations as they battle towards dinner time.
If you’re cooking for yourself, splash out. Try something different like a rich chocolatey souffle. At least if it goes wrong, you’re only cooking for yourself.
Relax and Enjoy
Plan an activity. Houseparty comes packed with games and quizzes. From Heads Up to Trivia, they’re a great way to connect. Or relax with a film – Netflix Party will synchronize your video with everyone else!
Connections will crash, dinners will be burnt. Virtual dinner parties are a learning curve. But they’re the next best way to catch up in a crisis.